National 19.9.2016 03:28 pm

Cosatu to back Ramaphosa for ANC presidency

FILE PICTURE: Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Niel Sibanda

FILE PICTURE: Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Niel Sibanda

In a move considered to oppose President Jacob Zuma’s leadership, Cosatu is expected to rally behind Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

While Zuma’s camp is said to prefer African Union chairperson Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma to take over from her ex-husband, South Africa’s largest worker’s federation will give its powerful vote to Rampahosa instead.

According to the Sunday Times and various other reports, Cosatu’s central committee is meeting tomorrow and, at that gathering, they will make their preferred candidate for the ANC presidency known. The outcome is apparently set to further split the union, which has one side lobbying for Dlamini-Zuma, led by federation president Sdumo Dlamini.

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The paper reports that the union also wants to consolidate its plans and start speaking as one, instead of issuing conflicting messages. The body has been racked by internal fighting of late, with the Food and Allied Workers’ Union controversially leaving, the result of which has made Cosatu even weaker than before. It was devastated by the earlier expulsion of metalworkers’ union Numsa.

“You can’t demand a skinny man flex his muscles. He doesn’t have muscles. We lost 400 000 members at once when Numsa was expelled … therefore there is very little muscle to flex,” said National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary David Sipunzi. Ramaphosa was a founder member of the NUM in the 1980s, but has since experienced friction with labour after his rise to prominence as a businessman.

Bereng Soke, general secretary of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union, said deputies should be given the opportunity to lead.

“We don’t deputise for the sake of it. You deputise because you see potential in someone being a leader,” he said.


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